A PROMINENT virologist said in a Facebook post today (July 25) that Monkeypox is a mild disease with mortality rate likely to be less than 3 in 10,000, especially among the most vulnerable, but difficult to control, INN News said.
Dr. Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, mentioned that the World Health Organisation had activated its highest alert level for the growing Monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern on Saturday July 23.
All countries were urged to work together to bring this viral disease under control and reduce it spreading further across the globe.
The number of cases has increased dramatically to over 16,000 so far this year. There are reports of five deaths but WHO’s report on July 22 did not mention any fatalities while stated that the disease had spread to over 70 countries with the number of patients definitely rising.
In pointing out that this is a mild disease with less than 3 out of 10,000 patients dying, Dr. Yong mentioned WHO’s report that says 98% of the cases occur among males of reproductive age, especially among homosexuals.
A large number of patients are also HIV positive.
Monkeypox is contagious and spread by close contact especially sexual activity, he said, adding that any disease related to sexual contact is difficult to control and eliminate with venereal diseases having been around for centuries and despite good medication they have not been completely eradicated.
With Monkeypox being difficult to control and eliminate except by an effective vaccination programme that covers almost all the population, and this requires large sums of money, it means we will have to live with this disease, he added.
Meanwhile Dr. Anan Jongkaewwattana, director of Veterinary Health Innovation and Management Research Group at Thailand BIOTEC, warned in a Facebook post that people should not compare Monkeypox and HIV because of different methods of transmission with an example being that condoms can protect against HIV but not Monkeypox.
Top: Colourised transmission electron micrograph of Monkeypox virus particles. Photo: NIAID and published by STAT News
Insert and Front Page: Dr Yong Poovorawan. Photo: INN News